Administrative Assistant III (4899)

Administrative Charlottesville, Virginia


Position Description:


Position Summary


The National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is a prestigious and diverse research facility that plays a vital role in the study of the universe. The Observatory is an exciting and dynamic organization that is pushing the boundaries of our understanding of the universe. The Observatory operates a variety of radio telescopes that span the globe, including the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. Whether you are a scientist, student, or simply someone who is fascinated by the cosmos, the NRAO offers a wealth of opportunities to learn, explore, and discover.


The Central Development Laboratory (CDL) at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) is hiring an Administrative Assistant to support the Director of the Laboratory in a variety of roles and functions. The CDL develops cutting-edge technology for the next generation of scientific instruments on NRAO’s telescopes and this position offers an active and important role in helping the CDL team. Our engineers, technical specialists, and support staff design, test, and install astronomy instrumentation on instruments around the world and astronomers use our instruments to research black holes, the formation of galaxies, stars, and exo-planets.


What You Will be Doing:

  • Providing high-level administrative support in a variety of functions including:
  • Serving as a member of CDL’s management team in day-to-day operations.
  • Assisting the Lab Director in managing schedules, correspondence, and with a number of management initiatives.
  • Planning and coordinating visitors and tours of the laboratory.
  • Serving on the laboratory’s safety committee.
  • Assisting in making travel itineraries for laboratory staff.
  • Assisting in shipping and receiving, including international shipments of scientific equipment.
  • Maintain equipment loan agreements.
  • Managing purchasing functions including credit card, petty cash, and managing budget commitment authorities.
  • Assisting the day-to-day administration of an active student and post-doctoral program at the Laboratory.


The position is often an external-facing representative of CDL and NRAO, so it requires a high degree of professionalism, confidentiality, tact, and discretion with internal and external clients. Must be highly organized and have strong verbal and written communication skills. Must be able to work independently, anticipating the needs of the Central Development Lab, and when needed, the greater Observatory, and take appropriate steps to respond.


This position will be based at the Central Development Lab (CDL) of the NRAO which is located in Charlottesville, VA. The CDL has a long history of developing new technology to enable forefront research in radio astronomy. Current research and development programs include cryogenic, low-noise front-ends, wideband electromagnetic components such as antenna feeds and polarizers operating from below 1 GHz to nearly 1 THz, phased-array feeds, highly integrated receiver architectures that employ early signal digitization and novel encoding, wideband and scalable digital signal processing architectures, and photonic signal generation, time reference distribution, and data transmission.


Who You Are:


  • You have an Associate's degree (A.A.) or equivalent from a two-year college or technical school in administration, management, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • You have a minimum of 7 years of experience in an administrative capacity with increasingly responsible duties.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office suite with demonstrated efficiency in Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint and Word, Adobe, SharePoint, web-based applications, and accounting software experience is preferred.


Competency Summary

  • Comprehensive knowledge of standard office practices, procedures, equipment, and administrative techniques;
  • Thorough knowledge of business English and spelling; and the ability to make mathematical calculations and to set up complex forms and statistical tables.
  • Ability to learn to read and comprehend complex and specialized vocabulary.
  • Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with other employees and the public; ability to understand and follow oral and written instruction;
  • Ability to organize and perform work independently in the absence of specific instructions.
  • The ability to interpret and apply policies and procedures, and to make decisions in accordance with regulations and established policies.


Work Environment

Work is typically performed in an office setting within a research or development environment.


Physical Demands

While performing the duties of this job, the employee typically sits at a desk, uses a personal computer, telephone, photocopier, facsimile, and other standard office equipment. The employee may occasionally be required to work outside around construction equipment. The employee may occasionally drive a vehicle, lift and/or move up to 50 pounds. The employee frequently is required to communicate in person, by electronic mail, and by telephone. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision and ability to adjust focus.


Compensation and Total Rewards:


The NRAO offers a comprehensive total rewards package to eligible staff members. We are committed to serving our employees and their families with a wide-ranging and competitive total rewards package that supports employees and their overall well-being and career growth.


The NRAO strives to attract and retain dedicated, highly qualified, competent, and motivated employees by offering competitive compensation and recognition for performance. Factors which may affect starting pay within the following rankings include; education, experience, competency, internal equity, and labor market conditions. 


In addition to competitive pay and benefits, NRAO provides excellent paid time off (13 holidays, up to 24 vacation days and15 sick days per year, time off for doctor/dentist visits, and 8 weeks of parental leave). Medical, dental and vision plans are effective on the first day of employment. NRAO’s retirement benefit contributes an amount equal to 10%of a qualified participant’s base pay with no required employee contribution; we also offer an optional supplemental, tax-deferred plan for employee retirement contributions.

Application Instructions:


Select the “Apply” button. You will need to be prepared to upload a cover letter describing your interest in this position, and your current resume.


Applicants must be currently authorized to work in the United States on a full-time basis.


Equal Opportunity Employer Statement:


AUI is an equal opportunity employer. Women, Minorities, Vietnam-Era Veterans, Disabled Veterans, Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities are encouraged to apply. To view our complete statement, please visit If you require reasonable accommodation for any part of the application or hiring process due to a disability, you may submit your request by sending an email to [email protected]


The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.